easy tomato cucumber summer salad with fresh basil

Easy Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad With Fresh Basil

Cooks in 10 Minutes Difficulty Easy 0 comments

Add a refreshing touch to your summer meals with our simple Tomato-Cucumber Summer Salad, made with fresh basil. Make it ahead for convenience, as the crisp cucumber and ripest tomatoes provide hydration during hot days. Enjoy this cucumber-tomato salad recipe with grilled meats or as a tasty filling for lunch wraps!

I love anything refreshing during the height of the hot months. Cucumber is known for its rehydrating qualities, and its crispness offers a pleasant crunch when paired with juicy ripe tomatoes. The addition of the fresh basil offers an aromatic pairing that brings this whole salad together in a fragrant and delicious way. Because juicy tomatoes are so acidic on their own, there isn’t much need to add vinegar to the dressing. So, I settled on a simple lemon vinaigrette as the lemon brightens the flavors in the salad without being overpowering. 

If you love simplicity in the kitchen during the summer time, stick around as I bring you more great salad recipes. In the meantime, enjoy this excellent pea shoot and couscous spring salad for your next dinner. 

easy tomato cucumber summer salad with fresh basil

Why You Will Love This Simple Salad

It’s an easy salad. It can be whipped up in minutes with simple, readily available ingredients. It’s perfect for a quick lunch, a side dish at a barbecue, or a light dinner option on a hot summer evening. 

It’s easily customizable. Add your favorite ingredients, such as avocado, feta cheese, pearl couscous, or grilled chicken, to make it even more satisfying.

Cooling Ingredients: The cucumber and tomato provide a crisp and cool base for the salad that is particularly enjoyable on hot summer days. 

​Let’s Start Gathering The Ingredients For This Refreshing Salad

Salads are a great way to use up all that fresh summer produce. This salad is made with a few simple fresh ingredients: tomato, English cucumber, red onion, and fresh basil. We can begin once we’ve gathered them and have our large salad bowl ready. Don’t forget that you will also need to have a fresh lemon, extra virgin olive oil, dried parsley, and black pepper to finish the salad. 

Once you’ve washed and dried the produce, you can begin. Slice the crisp cucumber first down its length in half and then each half in half again. Cut the fresh cucumbers halves into smaller pieces and add it to your large salad bowl using your knife. As this makes a large salad, I recommend making it right in an airtight container to be served later. I found great lidded plastic salad bowls with carrying handles at our local dollar store – anytime you can save money on home items is a good thing in my books. 

Next, we will cut the sweet tomatoes using your paring knife. First, slice the tomato down the center through the core. Using your knife, slice out the flower blossom core end. Then, lay the tomato flat on the cutting board and make four slices through it to divide it into four wedges. You can then slice the wedges into smaller pieces one by one. Or, if you prefer larger pieces for your salad, leave them as wedges. Add the tomato to the cucumber in the salad bowl. 

Next, we will peel the red onion. Doing so is a simple task, but if you are new to peeling onions, it can be challenging. I say this because I caught my daughter picking the thinnest possible layer of onion peel off an onion. It took a very long time to do so. As moms, we don’t have time to dawdle in the kitchen, so finding more straightforward methods is always helpful. My go-to method may be something other than chef quality, but it gets the job done. First, we cut both ends off the onion. Then, using the paring knife, cut through the first outer layer of the onion. That layer will easily peel off, leaving a shiny and odiferous center for the fresh onion. Simple. Fast. Efficient with little waste. 

Now that you’ve got that onion peeled, we will dice it. I cut it through the center, so I have two halves. Lay the onion down on the cutting board on a flat side. Then, slice entirely through the onion, being careful to keep a hold of it and keep fingers out of the way of the knife. Then, I cut the onion in the opposing direction. There is one half down the other to go. When both halves are diced to your satisfaction, add them quickly to your salad bowl. I don’t know about you, but the sooner I deal with the onion and get it away from me, the better to keep tears at bay. Another trick to reduce tearing is to chill the onion for one hour before cutting. Working at Harvey’s restaurant years ago, I diced vast bags of onions every morning. That’s where I learned that chilling them meant less tears. I won’t profess no tears, just significantly less. 

easy tomato cucumber summer salad with fresh basil

Moving on to the fresh basil, not all basil is the same. In fact, there are over 150 varieties of our green leaf friends. So when you head to the local grocery store and purchase a prepacked package of fresh herbs, you will likely be given sweet basil, aka common basil. If you are planting basil, the best varieties for this salad are Red Rubin or Sweet. Be careful of Thai basil, as it has an intense licorice flavor that may be off-putting. Sweet basil is the most common variety, with a subtly sweet flavor ideal for this salad. 

Once you’ve got the basil in front of you, we want to use just the leaves. Pinch the leaf away from the stem and cut it into pieces using a knife before adding it to the salad. You’ve now got the base of the salad ready, and it’s time to move on to dressing it. 

We are making a simple dressing using extra virgin olive oil, as it has a lighter flavor than others. In a small bowl, combine half a cup of olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice from a whole lemon. Blend well before pouring over the salad. Next, measure and add the dried parsley and black pepper to your fresh salad. Alternatively, fresh parsley can be used. 

Give the salad a toss and chill in the fridge, covered, until ready to serve. Chilling the salad allows the flavors to meld together and the vegetables to become more crisp, enhancing the overall taste and texture. Remember, this makes a large salad to enjoy at your next family gathering or throughout the week, so use a large bowl when making it.


English Cucumber: Adds a crisp and refreshing crunch to the salad, while its high water content helps keep the dish light and hydrating.

Tomato: This vegetable provides a juicy and slightly tangy flavor, complementing the cucumber and adding a burst of freshness to every bite.

Red Onion: This onion offers a subtle sharpness and a pop of color, balancing the sweetness of the tomato and enhancing the overall flavor profile of the salad.

Fresh Basil: Infuses the salad with a fragrant, herbaceous aroma and a hint of sweetness, elevating the dish’s refreshing and aromatic flavor.

Lemon Juice: This ingredient brings a bright and tangy citrus flavor to the salad, enhancing the freshness of the vegetables and providing a zesty kick that revitalizes the palate.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Coats the ingredients with a rich and smooth texture. At the same time, its fruity notes and subtle bitterness contribute depth and complexity to the salad’s flavor profile.

Dried Parsley: Offers a subtle herbaceous flavor and a touch of earthiness, complementing the freshness of the salad ingredients and adding depth to the overall taste.

Black Pepper: Adds a gentle spiciness, accentuating the flavors of the vegetables and herbs while adding a subtle complexity to the salad’s taste profile.

easy tomato cucumber summer salad with fresh basil

Substitutions and Add-Ins For This Tomato Cucumber Salad

English Cucumber: If English cucumbers are not available, you can substitute another type of cucumber or even zucchini. Just be sure to remove the seeds using regular cucumber to avoid excess moisture in the salad.

Tomato: Cherry or grape tomatoes can be used as alternatives, providing a similar juicy texture and sweet-tart flavor. Alternatively, heirloom tomatoes and other kinds of tomatoes will also work. 

Red Onion: Sweet onions or shallots can be substituted for red onion if you prefer a milder flavor. If you’re sensitive to the sharpness of raw onions, you can soak them in cold water for a few minutes to mellow their taste.

Fresh Basil Leaves: If fresh basil is unavailable, you can use fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or mint, depending on your preference and what’s on hand. Alternatively, you can use dried basil, but adjust the amount as dried herbs are more potent than fresh.

Lemon Juice: Lime juice can be subbed in for lemon juice, providing a similar citrusy brightness to the salad. If you don’t have fresh lemons or limes, you can use shelf-stable lemon or lime juice, but fresh is usually preferred for the best flavor.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You can substitute it with avocado, grapeseed, or any other neutral-flavored oil. Each oil imparts its own subtle flavor, so choose based on your taste preferences.

Dried Parsley: Fresh parsley can be substituted for dried parsley, with the added benefit of a brighter flavor and more vibrant color. Alternatively, you can use other dried herbs like oregano or thyme.

Black Pepper: Substitute white pepper for black pepper if you run out of black. 

Add-ins could include feta or fresh mozzarella cheese, pearl couscous, fresh dill, avocado, corn, quinoa, or even fresh mint! However, you make it, this easy salad with its crunchy cucumbers makes the perfect side dish for your summer meals. 

easy tomato cucumber summer salad with fresh basil

Expert Tips, Serving, And Storing Suggestions For This Delicious Salad

Tip #1: Prep Ingredients Properly: Ensure all ingredients are diced, sliced, or chopped uniformly for a consistent texture. This attention to detail ensures every bite is balanced and enjoyable.

Tip #2: Let Flavors Marinate: The more this salad marinates, the more the flavor will develop, making it a great make-ahead idea.

Tip #3: Balance Flavors and Textures: Aim for a balance of flavors (sweet, salty, sour, and savory) and textures (crisp, creamy, crunchy) in your salad. Be careful when choosing produce to ensure that it’s in peak form.

Serve this easy cucumber tomato salad as a refreshing side dish. It showcases the crisp cucumbers and the sweetness of ripe tomatoes. With minimal effort, you’ll delight your guests with a vibrant and flavorful addition to any main course. 

Transform this flavorful cucumber tomato salad into a satisfying wrap sandwich filling by layering it on a tortilla with creamy hummus or avocado spread. Its vibrant colors and refreshing taste add a deliciously light yet satisfying touch to your lunchtime wrap.

Store this simple cucumber tomato salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days to enjoy its freshness all week. Perfect for meal prep, it’s a vibrant mix of fresh vegetables that retains flavor and crunch, making it an ideal choice for convenient and healthy summer eating.

Have you tried our Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad yet? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below to share your experience and don’t forget to rate this recipe. Your feedback helps us continue to provide delicious dishes for you to enjoy all summer long!

easy tomato cucumber summer salad with fresh basil

Easy Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad With Fresh Basil

Amber Bondar
This easy refreshing tomato cucumber salad with fresh basil is both quick and easy. Make it ahead and chill for the most delicious hydrating summer salad. Customize with add-ins ideas and make it a hearty lunch for the heat during the warm months. Add some to your next wrap with hummus for a complete and tasty lighter meal.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 10


  • 1 Large Salad Bowl
  • Small Bowl
  • Paring Knife
  • Cutting board
  • knife
  • Teaspoon


  • 1 Lrg English Cucumber Diced
  • 5 Lrg Vine Ripened Tomatoes Diced
  • 1 Med Red Onion Diced
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Basil Leaves Chopped
  • ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon Juiced
  • 1 Tsp Dried Parsley
  • Tsp Black Pepper


  • Wash all produce and dry with paper towel.
  • On cutting board slice the English cucumber down its length and then each half in half again lengthwise. The dice and add to salad bowl.
  • Remove basil leaves from stems and chop. Add to salad.
  • Cut tomatoes in half then slice into wedges and dice. Add to salad.
  • Peel the onion and dice before adding to the salad bowl.
  • In separate small bowl or measuring cup add the olive oil and squeeze the whole lemon. Mix together and then drizzle over salad.
  • Measure and add the dried parsley and black pepper. Toss salad.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Salad can keep covered in fridge for up to four days.
Keyword cucumber, English Cucumber, salad, summer recipes, tomato

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